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Giving Thanks for Family

I spent the month of November guiding breathwork and sharing the 7 elements to B.R.E.A.T.H.E. with audiences in different spaces and contexts and it was awesome! It was my busiest month in quite some time, and I was intentional with every yes -


Yes to breathing with my children and community at Streetlight Guild

Yes to breathing with 100 Community Health Workers through HCGC

Yes to breathing with staff and students at Ohio Dominican University

Yes to breathing with my sisters of the Black Women Rise Poetry Collective


Each session was uniquely formatted with its own specific intention, set-up, presentation, playlist, and breathing techniques. After months of accepting only one or two engagements, these sacred yeses were worth the study time , energy, prayer, meditation, and commitment. I witnessed hundreds of deep peaceful inhales and exhales. Participants shared that after we breathed together, their racing hearts slowed their pace and their overwhelming thoughts were tamed into stillness. I count it an honor to witness the miracle of breathwork. I felt my own lungs expand with every session. Leading breathwork lures me out of my comfort zone, deeper into my calling. I know that my calling is one steeped in spiritual inheritance.


I come from a long line of loving people - ministers, mentors, visionaries, creatives, builders. I come from people who create space for others to catch their breath.

"We were made for this," my cousin Deena said. Her words were a gentle wind blowing away the fog of emotion blurring my vision at the moment. I was told my Auntie Diana is hospitalized less than a month after me and the kids visited for Thanksgiving.


Last month, after 5 years, we hit the road to visit my family. It was a blessing to sit with her and my Uncle Mike and hear stories about my Grandfather. Listening to my Aunt Diana preach as a little girl cultivated my desire to seek God and speak in public. Her poise always offered me a picture of authentic divine femininity. She has always been genuinely beautiful inside-out and that has not changed over time. And as we talked and laughed together, my Mother and Grandmother's spirits were felt through our shared memories.


Remembering who we are, where we come from and why we are here are essential to moving forward in faith.

As we sat around the table expressing our ideals about life, social justice, education, relationships, and other topics, it was evident that generational healing is taking place. The lessons of our older family members are being handed down as treasures for the younger ones to investigate and select according to our own identity and sense of purpose. This is the essence of family, I think - communicating about the paths we've taken and encouraging those after us to take higher more fulfilling roads. This is what I hope to impart to my children.


I've learned so much through the lives of my family, those I grew up close to as well as those who I grew up longing for. One lesson I carry with me daily is the pricelessness of presence. I am grateful for the quality time I now have with my Father and Mom Freda. When they visited us with my Aunt and Uncle from Georgia, I was overjoyed! Having a loving Father and family visit your home cannot be measured.


Their loving support and timeless wisdom have helped restore me from brokenness, not only over the past couple years, but also in healing my childhood wounds. They have truly expressed the love of God to me in ways I wasn't always aware I needed. Looking into their eyes and hearing their words of encouragement helps me see myself more clearly. Today, when I look in the mirror I see my Father's grit just as much as I see my Mother's resilience. I truly am because they are.


Reflecting on November as we step out of December and into a New Year, I have an even greater understanding of what gives me oxygen -


It's not validation from others.

It's not people pleasing.

It's not abandoning myself for the sake of busy-ness.


No.


I catch my breath with every sacred yes and loving no. I breathe easier when I say yes to the calling God has on my life and yes to the people I am blessed to live in love with.


I believe that being with loved ones is a gift that should be cherished with every breath.

As we move into the New Year making resolutions, casting vision, and dreaming of ways to become greater and gain more, may we all take time to give thanks for every moment we share with others - whether it is in the realm of our calling or in the comforting company of those we come from. In the midst of a time when masks and social distancing is required, let's find ways to be fully present. Let's make it a priority to live to love today.



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